Tag Archive: grunt

New fish for my “Caught in this Life” list

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

Following a busy Wavewalk weekend, my own refrigerator had no fresh fish fillets for the grill pan. Though I, personally, like grunt flesh, my wife has been clamoring for snapper. So, while she went dancing in Miami, I threw the last of Sunday’s bait in the W700 and motored to my consistent snapper hole. Yes, she is a most fortunate woman.

After limiting out on legal size Mangrove Snappers, something grabbed my bait and took off down the creek.
The 8 lb. test Cajun Red line proved its abrasive resistance as drag screamed and the line went round the bend rubbing on mangrove roots. I yanked up the stakeout pole, threw it in the bottom of my trusty Wavewalk steed, and went for a ride with the big fish in charge of towing.
Actually, I was not sure it was a fish. The brute fought more like a snapping turtle. Away went the Wavewalk, pulled by the tide and a little submarine.
I worked that critter out of those tangled roots with a kayak style Ricky Rod and skill that can only be obtained from years of chasing fish. (Truth is, a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while.)
Somewhere, between handling the line and my balance as I bumped like a pinball back and forth across the little creek, I did manage to pull a waterproof camera from the Harbor Freight ammo box. The picture is not great but it sure is colorful.
Well, a new fish got added to my “Caught in this Life” list: a big old honker Rainbow Parrotfish.
They eat them in the Bahamas. I let this one go. Plenty of snapper for Mama.
And a couple grunts for Papa.





Larry also offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

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We ended an all day trip having caught over 100 fish…

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

The easterly trade wind has been blowing hard for more than a week.
This is Spring Break in South Florida. Many of the local tour, fishing and diving boats that take people to the reef and blue water have to turn away customers because of the 6-8′ waves that are pounding the reef line.
There has been some seriously lost business and most disappointed vacationers.

In Key Largo, we have had wonderfully productive trips fishing our Wavewalk W700 tandem kayaks in the narrow creeks that flow through the dense mangrove forest here in the heart of Pennekamp Park. Because of the tight quarters and many non-combustion zones where internal combustion motors are prohibited, many of these areas rarely see a fisherman.

This weekend, two groups booked Wavewalk kayak fishing adventures with me –

Issac brought Julio, Daniel, and Darren for a Good Friday afternoon trip. They caught about 30-40 lbs. of keeper fish (Mangrove Snappers, Bluestriped Grunts, and Sailors Choice). I filleted out and boxed enough fish for a panko fried fish platter with black beans and rice that they had cooked up at the Blackwater Siren Restaurant before leaving our island. And, they had a big bag of fish for a big fish fry in Miami.

April who was raised and worked in the Keys, brought her son Keith Jr. and crew Kevin and Joey on Easter Sunday. After a most slow start to the day, we found fish way up Smugglers Run (a creek named for the infamous Keys past when “Save the Bales” was the slogan of the day.).
Those new kayak Ricky Rods got a real workout dragging fish from beneath the mangrove roots. April caught the most fish but everyone got their share including the pelicans who got a bucketful.
We really had to travel some distance to find the calmest possible conditions but we ended an all day trip having caught over 100 fish.



Everyone who tours or fishes with me in the Wavewalk portable boats is amazed how comfortable and stable these vessels are compared to conventional kayaks.
It is not too hard being the best fishing kayak guide in South Florida with the best fishing kayaks that are available, anywhere.

Larry also offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

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Fishing The Mangrove Tunnels

By Captain Larry Jarboe


This particular tunnel is inaccessible during high tide. Most are not this narrow. But, there are plenty of fish waiting to get caught.

That 3.5 hp Nissan [Tohatsu] is a long shaft outboard that I found south of Jacksonville for 200 bucks. With a new carb and a fresh impeller (less than 100 bucks) she is a fine runner.

Note the DIY handle of the tiller extension: It is easy to grab behind my back to steer. On straight hauls, I rest my back upon it and steer with the paddle. Good vibrations…

The pics are from the stern of the boat. As the tide pulls me thru the narrow cuts, the main resistance, the OB lower unit, wants to move forward. This gives me better control and helps clear the mangrove spider webs ahead.

Also, I built a combo 3 rod holder, Go-Pro, fish de-hooker, bait knife, and line clipper holder that fits in a single support hole of the W700 and Series 4 vessels. When I get the French fry holder mounted, I’ll post a pic.



Today’s catch before filleting

This trip produced Mangrove Snappers, Caesar Grunts, and Bermuda Chubs. We ate the snappers and grunts for lunch. The chubs will be smoked to make fish dip.

fried fresh fish fillets

Panko fried fresh fish fillets

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Fish of the week – The Black Margate

By Captain Larry Jarboe

One of the most diverse families of fish in the Atlantic Ocean is the grunt family. There are dozens of different type grunts that are predominately bottom dwelling species. The largest grunts are called margates. The White and Black Margates can grow over ten pounds but most grunts are a pound or less.

There are three grunts on the cleaning table in the picture. The two smaller ones are a White Grunt and a Bluestriped Grunt. The larger one is a Black Margate. Nearby, is a pan filled with boneless grunt fillets from a day when the catching was only so-so but there is still plenty of good eating ahead.

In the past, I might have released that Black Margate. My own discriminating taste and other on-line opinions might have prejudiced me from serving this fish to my own family. The meat is a little darker than most grunts and downright bloody red near the dorsal fin.

However, it was a tough day and this was the biggest catch of the day.

I seasoned and grilled the Black Margate fillet, a Jolthead Porgy Fillet, and some White Grunt fillets on the stove in a Pampered Chef grill pan. Served with a side of clam chowder heated in the fish broth, neither my son, his friend, or I could tell any difference in the taste. The fresh fillets were simply good eating.

Ironically, there is a special designation unique to Florida regarding the three fish pictured in the accompanying photo. For the members who blog on the Wavewalk website, I have a special prize, a copy of my first book “Fishy Deals” for the first person to deduct and post the legal importance, recognition, and award status of catching these three fish according to the Florida fishing regulatory authority.
Because, Black Margates matter.


Assorted fish ready for cooking, Key Largo, FL


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Fish of the week – barracuda

By Captain Larry Jarbo

Other than sharks, probably the most fearsome predatory fish that swims in the Atlantic Ocean is the Great Barracuda. These fish can grow over seven feet long and have razor sharp teeth capable of ripping human flesh to the bone.

Fortunately, these ferocious fish prefer to feed on smaller fish like mullet, ballyhoo, or grunts. Most barracuda attacks on people are cases of mistaken identity. The cuda mistook that silver Rolex watch on the swimmer’s wrist as a fleeing fish. Smart people don’t wear flashy objects or jewelry into the water.

Great Barracuda are found in the depths of the Gulf Stream, over shallow reefs, around shipwrecks, and throughout the back country creeks and bays. They are a good sport fish for kayak fishermen to target because they can be found in so many different environments. Though they may be found in schools in the ocean, Great Barracuda are predominately lone predators.

Both live and artificial baits can be used to catch barracuda. Large swimming plugs, surgical tube eels, and large plastic enhanced jigs will all catch these toothy denizens but I prefer live baiting them. In the deep, a short wire leader with a Goggle-Eyed Scad or Blue Runner swimming on a 3/0 – 5/0 hook is a good Barracuda bait. In shallow reef and back country waters, I use an empty twelve ounce Coca Cola plastic bottle for a homemade bobber to keep the bait (a pinfish or small grunt) out of the bottom.

Recently, the catch limits on Atlantic Barracuda in South Florida were wisely reduced to two fish per person per day or six cudas per boat. This is a most sensible way to protect the resource and the sport fishery that targets barracuda. Smaller barracudas (2 feet long or less) are good to eat seasoned and grilled but larger ones may carry Ciguatera poisoning due to toxins accumulating in their flesh from their own consumption of algae eating parrotfish.

The large cuda in the photo was caught on a kayak combo trip that included free mothership transport to the Gulf Stream. That day, we also caught a small shark, jacks, porgies, legal tilefish, and dozens of good eating grunts. Definitely, the four foot barracuda provided the fight and thrill of the day. After a battle on light line, the fish was too winded to be released. That predator provided dinner for the heron and pelicans at my dock, the head will become Stone Crab bait, and the fillets are fine shark bait for another adventure. Nothing goes to waste.

And, the picture will live on to encourage more people to experience the joy of fishing.

Fish and be happy…


4 ft long barracuda hanging from a white Wavewalk 500 kayak attached to the mothership.
Key Largo, FL, February 2016


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